Friday, May 29, 2015Friday, May 29, 2015

Abbas, Peres call for peace at Vatican ceremony

Published on Jun 9, 2014 6:41 AM

VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas called for peace on Sunday at an unprecedented prayer with Pope Francis on Sunday amid heightened tensions between the two sides.

Mr Peres said peacemaking was a "duty" and a "holy mission" at the spiritual event in the Vatican Gardens, and Mr Abbas called for a "comprehensive and just peace" that could bring stability to the Middle East.

Joined by the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, the three spoke after hearing Christian, Jewish and Muslim prayers and musical interludes in what Mr Peres defined as "an unusual call for peace".

"Two peoples, Israelis and Palestinians, still are aching for peace. The tears of mothers over their children are still etched in our hearts. We must put an end to the cries, to the violence," Mr Peres said.

Israeli President Shimon Peres (left) shakes hands with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas as Pope Francis looks on after they plant an olive tree in the Vatican's gardens following a joint peace prayer at the Vatican on June 8, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!